by Michael Rich

“Don’t forget to Wash your hands!”

It’s a simple command your parents, teachers and others give you multiple times a day. However, do you really need to wash your hands so often, or are these adults just trying to find something to nag you about?

Let’s think about it for a moment.

Imagine all of the things you touch on a daily basis; toilets, pets, door handles and more. Each time you touch an object the germs living on that object are transferred to your body. When you touch another object you get another set of germs and transfer the germs from previous objects you touched onto the new object.

You are literally on a daily basis spreading thousands of germs around the space you live in.

But, it not just you helping to lead to the spread of these germs, everyone in the world is spreading this contaminants at a break neck pace.

That’s why it is important to wash your hands. In fact properly washing your hands only three times a day can kill 51 percent of cold and flu viruses.

So when should you wash your hands and how should you do it? Here is what the Center for Disease Control has to say on the matter.

When should you wash your hands?
• Before, during, and after preparing food
• Before eating food
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After using the toilet
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After touching an animal or animal waste
• After touching garbage

What is the right way to wash your hands?
• Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
• Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
• Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
• Rinse your hands well under running water.
• Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

What if I don’t have soap and clean, running water?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.

How do you use hand sanitizers?
• Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
• Rub your hands together.
• Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.